Holyfield event organizers blasted by VADA as boxing loses credibility

Phil Jay
Vitor Belfort Evander Holyfield
Amanda Westcott

Evander Holyfield being taken out in one round by Vitor Belfort could get foreseen from a mile away. Now big questions are getting asked of the organizers.

Did they not notice that Holyfield was incapable of fighting at 58, or did they not care?

Whatever the situation, boxing loses credibility at a supersonic rate and will soon be in the gutter unless saved by someone or something.

The latest to pour scorn on the whole charade is VADA Chairman Dr. Margaret Goodman. Like many involved in the sport, VADA was highly concerned about what went down.

Holyfield couldn’t put a combination together at the pre-fight workout. He looked slower than a sloth on a lazy day and was in real danger against a 44-year-old Vitor Belfort in shape.

Belfort would probably have done similar to Oscar De La Hoya had the Golden Boy promoter not contracted Covid just days before they were due to meet.

Triller, who staged the Pay Per View and charged fifty bucks for the privilege, announced that it was a sanctioned professional contest before the bout.

Later, it became apparent that all the main fights except Jono Carrol vs. Andy Vences were exhibitions. Triller never cleared this up.

HOLYFIELD CRITICISM

Nonetheless, VADA’s Goodman still had strong words for the event despite the realization.

“Just because a contest is declared an “exhibition” doesn’t mean the fighters aren’t absorbing punishment, especially during training where most of the damage occurs.

“Regulators need to prove safety is their priority,” she pointed out.

“The ring physicians who consented to work Holyfield vs. Belfort should be asked to explain why they consented to work this event.

Amanda Westcott

“Says a great deal about ABC Boxing [Association of Boxing Commissions] speaking out against stringent PED testing. But they remain completely silent when their fellow commissions neglect due diligence in licensing.

“You don’t need a team of neurologists to determine when a fighter should no longer compete. All you need is a pen, conscience, and courage to do the right thing.

“The same factors apply regarding PED testing in combat sports,” added Goodman.

REGULATE

When moving on to the future, significant questions remain about how commissions should regulate events like this. Even now, boxing professionally is not up to standard itself. Therefore, how do you do anything for exhibitions?

It’s a tough call, but one a higher power will have to make soon before a boxing legend gets killed in the ring.

Phil Jay is the Editor of WBN. An Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America since 2018. And a member of the Sports Journalists’ Association. Follow on Twitter @PhilJWBN.

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